"It was the education that was the first thing for me," the 6-1, 196-pound Atkinson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers of why he chose the Tigers. "They have what I want to major in, and that's Criminology. I want to be a FBI agent.
"Secondly, it really feels like home every time I go down there," he said. "The coaching staff makes you feel wanted and makes you feel at home. Plus, it's really close to my home and I want my mom to be able to come see me play. That's really what sealed the deal for me."
Taking a visit two weeks ago to see the Auburn campus and meet with the coaches, Atkinson said that gave him a pretty good idea that it was going to be his home.
"The visit went really good," Atkinson said. "I was able to talk with Coach Malzahn and see what kind of person he was. He's very passionate about the game. I just like his attitude. He's just a good person."
Playing a hybrid position currently on defense for Langston Hughes alongside talented defensive end D'Andre Walker, Atkinson said the chance to play a similar role as the 'star' in Auburn's defense is something that was big for him in his decision.
"That's what I wanted to play," Atkinson said of the "star" role. "It was really big for me because they chose me for that position. That said a lot to me. That's what I have been wanting to play so it feels really good."
As a junior Atkinson finished his season with 138 tackles, three forced fumbles and added two interceptions. He also added one touchdown on offense from the tight end position.
Planning to make a return visit to Auburn this spring to see the Tigers in action at practice, he said now that he's made his decision the only thing left is to get on the recruiting trail to help bring other guys in for his class. He said that definitely starts with his Walker.
"He's definitely the guy," Atkinson said. "I'm trying to get at him."